[Bates’ Pamphlet #1] The Opening Heavens


From what part of Heaven will this glorious City appear? We answer, from where the flaming sword is “guarding the way of the tree of life,” and the Cherubims are stationed. John 1:51. Ferguson, the celebrated astronomer of the last century, in describing some of the many wonders in the Heavens, says “that the two bright clouds in the heavens at the south pole, called by mariners the clouds of Magellan, are by astronomers called cloudy stars, but the most remarkable of all the cloudy stars is that in the middle of Orion’s Sword, where seven stars (of which three are very close together) seem to shine through a cloud, very lucid in the middle, but faint and ill defined about the edges. It looks like a GAP in the sky, through which one may see (as it were) part of a much brighter region. Although most of the spaces are but a few minutes of a degree in breadth, yet, since they are among the fixed stars, they must be spaces larger than what is occupied by our Solar System—(the Solar System includes the Planet Uranus, which is one thousand and eight hundred millions of miles from the Sun, the circumference of her orbit in which she revolves around the Sun is calculated to be three hundred and fourteen millions of miles)—and in which there seems to be a perpetual uninterrupted day among numberless worlds, which no human art can ever discover.—Ferguson’s Treatise on Astronomy, edition A. D. 1770. BP1 6.1

Out of ninety-three, Orion is the most striking and splendid constellation in the Heavens; her centre is mid way between the poles of heaven and directly over the equator of the Earth, and is visible from all the habitable parts of the Globe. On her south-eastern quarter is the beautiful star Sirius, (one of the most magnificent in the Heavens,) and on the north-west is stationed the Pleiades or seven Stars. “She rises at noon about the 9th of March” “and sets at noon about the 21st of June,” and comes to the meridian January 23rd, at 9 P. M. She is now to be seen for a little while, in the evening twilight, about one hour high, with the Planets Jupiter and Mars on her north and north-west. When the Lord answered Job out of the whirl wind, and demanded of him to answer to the wonderful questions which he was now about to put to him, he says “Canst thou bind the sweet influences of the Pleiades or loose the bands of ORION.” When Amos, the Prophet exhorted his Israel to repentance, he endeavored to impress their minds with the power of God by adverting to the wonderful phenomena in the Heavens, by saying, “Seek him that maketh the Seven Stars and Orion,” etc. etc. BP1 7.1

HUYGENS,* its first discoverer, gives the following description of it: “Astronomers place three stars close together in the Sword of Orion; and when I viewed the middle-most with a Telescope, in the year 1656, there appeared in the place of that one, twelve other stars; among these three that almost touch each other, and four more besides appeared twinkling as through a cloud, so that the space about them seemed much brighter than the rest of the heaven, which appearing wholly blackish, by reason of the fair weather, was seen as through a curtain opening, through which one had a free view into another region which was more enlightened. I have frequently observed the same appearance in the same place without any alteration; so that it is likely that this wonder, whatever it may be in itself, has been there from all times; but I never took notice of any thing like it among the rest of the fixed stars.” BP1 7.2

Sir WILLIAM HERSCHEL says, “If stars of the eighth magnitude are to be considered at an average of eight times further distant than those of the first, then this nebula cannot be supposed to be less than 320,000,000,000,000, three hundred and twenty thousand billions of miles from the earth. If its diameter at this distance subtend an angle of ten minutes, which it nearly does, its magnitude must be utterly inconceivable. It has been calculated that it must exceed 2,000,000,000,000,000,000, or two trillions of times the dimensions of the Sun, vast and incomprehensible as these dimensions are.” - See Dick’s Sidereal Heavens, Vol.VIII. pp. 181,184. BP1 8.1

Says the author - “Suffice it to say that such an enormous mass of luminous matter was not created in vain, but serves a purpose in the divine arrangements corresponding to its magnitude and the nature of its luminosity, and to the wisdom and intelligence of him whose power brought it into existence. It doubtless subserves some important purpose, even at the present moment, to worlds and beings within the range of its influence. But the ultimate in all its bearings and relations, may perhaps remain to be evolved during the future ages of an interminable existence.” Page 184. BP1 8.2

Again, says the ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS of April 19th, 1845: “Marvelous rumors are afloat respecting the Astronomical discoveries made by lord Rosse’s monster Telescope. (This is said to be sixty feet long and its great speculum or reflecting large glass measures six feet in diameter and weighs three and three-fourths tons, and is calculated to discover glorious objects in the Heavens, to man heretofore unknown.) It is stated that Regulus, instead of being a sphere, is ascertained to be a Disc; and stranger still, that the nebula in the belt of Orion (meaning the bright place before stated) is a universal system, a sun with planets moving round it, as the earth and her fellows move around our glorious luminary.” BP1 8.3

Thus we see from all the testimony adduced, (and we could give much more were it necessary) that here is a most wonderful and inexplainable phenomena in the heavens: a gap in the sky, more than 11,314,000,000 miles in circumference. Says the celebrated HUYGENS,* “I never saw anything like it among the rest of the fixed stars - a free view into another region more enlightened.” I have had the pleasure (with others) during the past month, to see this wonder in the Heavens a number of evenings, through J. Delano, Jr’s. excellent Telescope. BP1 8.4

It has been supposed by some, that this wonderful phenomena seen through the sword of Orion, has passed through some material change since it was first discovered by Huygens,* one hundred and ninety years ago. On this point Sir John Herschel says: “When it is considered how difficult it is to represent such an object duly, and how entirely its appearance will differ even in the same Telescope, according to the clearness of the air, or other temporary causes, we shall readily admit that we have no evidence of change that can be relied on.” BP1 9.1

As I had before partially examined the Bible view of the opening Heavens, I think I never shall forget the thrill that pervaded my whole being, the first time that I saw this celestial wonder coursing its way down the western Heavens! Since then, when I have viewed it through the Telescope, my mind would instinctively revert to Moses’s description of the liberated children of Abraham, passing through the Red Sea, with that wonderful miracle “the pillar of fire, between them and the Egyptian Host.” My thoughts still running onward, from type to antitype, “God looking through the cloud of fire in the morning watch;” at once vanquished the enemies of his chosen people. Exodus 14:24, 27. BP1 9.2

So in this morning watch God will not only look through this mighty space, (black on one side with the stormy cloud,) but, as the Prophet Joel says, he will “Roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the Heavens and the Earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people. - So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy.” (“CLEANSED.”) 3:16, 17. BP1 9.3

A western view, with an inverting eye piece, gives it the appearance of a stormy dark cloud, with a full moon just shut in behind it, and three bright stars looking through the cloud. This dark looking cloud is called the gap in the sky. This constellation measures about one thousand miles from North to South, and five hundred from East to West, and is visible to all the inhabitants of the earth. BP1 9.4

Here then is a mighty Image (as represented on the map of the Heavens,) stretched across mid heaven, with his gold and silver epaulettes (four hundred and eighty miles apart) and two burning stars denoting his Northern and Southern extremities: the golden one on his upraised left foot, the other of silver on his right knee, answering to the one on his left shoulder; girded with his brilliant studded belt and flaming sword; “doubtless, to subserve some important purpose even at the present moment.” Let it be distinctly understood, with what has already been stated by the Astronomers, that this “constellation is one of the most brilliant and noted in the Heavens,” “that its nebula, (according to the celebrated Sir WILLIAM HERSCHEL) far exceeds any other object, and its magnitude utterly inconceivable, two trillions times larger than the Sun; while the Sun is allowed to be thirteen hundred thousand times larger than our globe. That it “never yet has been resolved into stars by the highest power of the telescope,” “and there is no evidence of any change, even if it were discovered to be resolvable, (as is stated by a writer somewhat acquainted with lord Rosse’s monster telescope.) If so, it goes to strengthen the argument of its first discoverer, who says “through which one had a free view into another region which was more enlightened.” BP1 10.1

If, then, there is nothing to be seen on Earth or in the Heavens except what Joshua and David saw, 5:13, 14; 1 Chronicles 21:15, 16, that looks like this constellation, would it be thought strange for a Christian to believe that the Prophet Moses had recorded for our instruction the very answer to be given, viz. “to keep the way of the tree of life.” BP1 10.2

I have now given a general description of this celestial wonder, but some may still doubt whether any thing can be ascertained with respect to objects so far removed. If the most accurate calculations had not already been made in respect to many of the heavenly bodies, how could the tempest tossed mariner, after being driven for days, and sometimes weeks, sailing on all points of the compass, and perhaps, not have known his position from the time he had taken his departure from his port, only by dead reckoning, (nothing in sight but sea and sky,) ascertain his true position? Just look, - there stands the captain, on some convenient part of the deck of his ship, holding in his hand a three cornered instrument, called a Sextant, measuring the distance between the sun and moon, or if it be in the night, between the moon and some lunar star, (which is millions on millions of miles removed from the Solar System,) noting the moment by his watch when he brings the outer or inner edges of these two celestial objects to touch; then measuring their distance from the horizon. With the help of a Nautical Almanac, (which had been published years before,) in the course of twenty minutes he so confidently ascertains his position, (however strange it may appear to landsmen,) that he would, after running ten or one hundred miles more or less, as the case may be, direct one of his crew to go to the mast head, and tell him at the same time in what direction to look for land. Presently the cry would come down, thrilling through every soul in the ship, “Land ho!” “Where away?” “Off the starboard bow, sir, where you told me to look.” Such instances are not rare, but of daily occurrence. “How could that be? says one, “it looks like a miracle!” So it would be, if the great God had not directed these celestial objects to move in perfect harmony. A place for every one, and every one in its place. BP1 10.3

One at a certain time said, “Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty to perfection?” The wise man answers, “No man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.” Ecclesiastes 3:2; Job 11:7. These texts alone teach us that we yet know but little of the power and wisdom of the Sovereign of the universe, whose spirit fills unlimited space; which space is undoubtedly coeval and coextensive with eternity; studded with millions on millions of worlds, each moving in its appropriate Sphere, like our own Planet. But a still greater wonder is the thousands and millions of blazing Comets, even in the Solar System, (Dick, vol. 8: p. 339,) seemingly sailing with a roving commission, sweeping their burning trails all over the perceptible universe of God, each moving in its proper Orbit! some of them shooting, at times, almost with the velocity of lightning! And yet, with what precision does the Astronomer calculate their appearing again after hundreds and thousands of years, without interfering with any of the celestial scenery. Just turn over to the second page of your Almanac and learn with what admirable accuracy the Astronomer has calculated, even to a moment of time, when the moon of yesterday will be passing under the sun, and cause the darkness to be seen and felt. BP1 11.1

Some minds may be troubled about the flaming sword being placed at the East of the Garden, or that we could see the Eastern side. This will be better understood by looking at the motion of our Planet. It is said by Astronomers that this Earth in its annual motion, is booming round the sun at the rate of nineteen miles per second; at the same time her diurnal motion from East to West is at the rate of ten miles per minute: consequently all the objects we see in the heavens, comes from the East, and among the rest this glorious constellation of Orion, all just as natural as it is for us to see the Sun rise in the East; and in the same direction the world will soon see what the Second Advent believer has long and anxiously been waiting for: viz. the “glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” Titus 2:13. Now let us take another view; not through Lord Rosse’s, but God’s great Telescope, which “declares the end from the beginning.” Isaiah 46:10. BP1 12.1